Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies in which patients volunteer to take part in tests of new drugs, devices, or procedures. Doctors use findings from clinical trials to learn if promising approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment are effective. They are in the final stages of a long and careful research process, aimed to improve health and cancer care.

New drugs and devices must go through many different stages before becoming available to patients for clinical trials. Drug and device testing begins with extensive laboratory and animal research, which can involve many years of experiments and studies. If the laboratory and animal research is successful, the drug or device is then sent to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval for research and testing in humans. If the FDA determines the drug or device is safe, it is then offered to patients for clinical trial testing. Some clinical trials involve already approved drugs or devices used in a different way. Patient safety and side effects are monitored throughout the clinical trials.

Access to clinical trials has traditionally been limited to high-caliber academic research hospitals. However, patients in the Baptist system have gained access to these trials through the Baptist Cancer Center’s (BCC) membership in an exclusive national NCI-supported network that brings clinical trials to people in their communities. The BCC offers Mid-South residents the opportunity to participate in innovative research and treatment from close to home through its continually expanding network of community hospitals across the region.

Types of clinical trials

  • Treatment trials test new treatments, such as new cancer drugs, new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy, new combinations of treatments, or new methods, such as gene therapy.
  • Prevention trials look for the best way to prevent cancer in people who have never had cancer, new occurrences in patients who have already had cancer, and cancer recurrence. These trials test new approaches, such as medicines, vitamins, minerals, or other supplements that doctors believe may lower the risk of a cancer.
  • Screening trials test the best methods to identify cancer, particularly in its early stages.
  • Quality of Life & Supportive Care explore ways to improve comfort and quality of life for cancer patients, or look understand troubles (psychological, financial, physiological) that cancer patients may face.

More resources

To learn more about clinical trials, access these online resources.

For more information about our clinical trials, read through our Clinical Trial FAQ.

Browse Clinical Trial Listings

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